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Levi Williams gets a second chance to shine at the Potato Bowl.

Utah State's backup quarterback draws the start Saturday in Boise, Idaho, where the Aggies meet slumping Georgia State with Williams returning to the same game where he was awarded Most Valuable Player honors in 2021.

Williams piloted Wyoming to a 52-38 win over Kent State, running for 200 yards and scoring four touchdowns in that game. This year, he has the chance to lead Utah State (6-6) to a winning season and perhaps enjoy another big game while doing it.

"Bring me back to the Potato Bowl, I guess," Williams said. "But I'm super blessed and super humbled. I love this team and we're going to try to go up there and get a nice win to end the season."

Williams is a big reason Utah State is here, running for three scores and throwing for two more on Nov. 26 in a 44-41 double overtime win at New Mexico. He accounted for 351 total yards, rushing for 153 on 25 carries and completing 16 of 27 attempts for 198 yards.

His 13-yard touchdown run was the decisive score that made the Aggies bowl-eligible.

"Levi did a great job at New Mexico," said Utah State coach Blake Anderson. "I thought he did a phenomenal job coming in that last week, preparing the right way and going out playing with some poise and leadership."

Williams is actually the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart but moved up the ladder with Cooper Legas (1,815 yards, 19 TD passes) and McCae Hillstead (1,005 yards, 10 TDs) shelved by injuries. The Aggies were 3-5 after a 42-21 loss at San Jose State Oct. 21 but won three of their four games in November, losing only to Mountain West Conference champion Boise State.

Georgia State (6-6) enters with little positive traction from the end of the regular season. The Panthers limp into bowl season with a five-game losing streak, blowing a 21-0 halftime lead in their regular-season finale on Nov. 26 in a bitter 25-24 loss at Old Dominion.

After that loss came two others when leading rusher Marcus Carroll and top receiver Robert Lewis hit the transfer portal and surfaced quickly at Southeastern Conference programs; Carroll chose Missouri and Lewis went to Auburn.

Carroll rushed for 1,350 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and more than 100 yards per game. Lewis caught 70 passes for 881 yards and seven scores. That will be a lot of production to make up for Georgia State.

They are two of a whopping 13 players to hit the portal. Included are right tackle Montavious Cunningham (Virginia Tech) and cornerback Bryquice Brown (Boston College). One who stuck around is quarterback Darren Grainger, who threw for 2,368 yards with 17 touchdowns while adding 625 yards and eight scores on the ground.

"This is an opportunity for our football team to finish the season the right way," said Panthers coach Shawn Elliott.

--Field Level Media

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